Rugby: The major absentees from the next 2023 World Cup

Rugby: The major absentees from the next 2023 World Cup

Journalist for 20 years, I am a field man for Canal+ on the Top 14 and ProD2 and correspondent for Radio France

While waiting for the list of 33 Blues elected to play the World Cup that Fabien GalthiƩ will give on August 21, other nations have already officially announced their squad. With some surprises and some omissions.

For all the players of the France Rugby Team, for all the 42 currently in training in Capbreton, the date impatiently awaited is August 21. That day, Fabien GalthiƩ will appear on the 1 p.m. set of TF1 to list live the 33 names of players who will participate in the Rugby World Cup. And certainly there will be disappointments. And maybe even surprises. The French reservoir is so dense that many excellent players will automatically be excluded from the adventure. It is the law of competition. A real headache for breeders. And a fatal cleaver for players. The other nations go through the same pitfall before the start of the competition. And some very quickly delivered their list of 33, with obviously some notable omissions.

England without Slade or Mercer

The XV of the Rose is in full reconstruction after a very disappointing 6 Nations Tournament and coach Steve Borthwick has chosen to cut himself off from one of the main English executives by obscuring the center Henry Slade from his selection. A massive blow for the three-quarter center of Exeter, already capped 56 times, and considered for a time as one of the best centers in the world. Also note the absence of UBB third-line Tom Willis. And, more surprisingly, that of Zach Mercer, the former third line of Montpellier, voted best player in the Top 14 in 2022. A very surprising oversight when you know the impact and influence that Zach Mercer can have on a field of rugby.

Argentina without Cordero, Fiji without Botitu

The Top 14 is the best championship in the world and the public expects to see the biggest stars of the French championship again in the World Cup with their selection. Unfortunately, this will not be the case for the two twirling Argentinian wingers Santiago Cordero (ex-UBB) and Bautista Delguy (Clermont), absent from coach Michael Cheika’s list. Ditto on the side of Fiji who announce an impressive selection with nine residents of the Top 14, in particular Levani Botia (La Rochelle), Josua Tuisova (Racing), Sami Radradra (LOU), Waisea Nayacalevu (Toulon), or Jiuta Wainiqolo (Toulon), but without the Castres Vilimoni Botitu, despite his versatility and his habit of breaking all the defenses of the Top 14. Neither Ben Volavola, former starter at the opening in selection, and who will play under the colors of Agen in ProD2 this season . On the other hand, this remains good news for their respective clubs which will therefore be able to start the season with them as soon as the championship resumes.


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